Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful cities in the Med, one that has become increasingly popular with travellers in recent years. What was once the Adriatic’s best kept secret, is now a thriving destination with tourism reaching an all-time high in 2014 with over 800,000 visitors. With its coastal views and distinctive Old Town, it’s a Mediterranean gem and not to be missed; but go ill-equipped and you could fall into the obvious tourist traps. Instead, follow these 5 top secret tips to make your visit as luxurious and indulgent as possible.
1. Go oyster tasting
If you love seafood, you’re in luck. Croatia has a long tradition of fisheries and the extensive fish dishes on restaurant menus will give you so much choice. But the one thing you have to try is Croatian oysters; farmed at an oyster farm less than an hour away from Dubrovnik, you’ll be able to taste the freshest, juiciest oysters in the Adriatic! Head to Oyster & Sushi Bar Bota near the cathedral after a long day of sightseeing and let yourself in for a champagne and oyster treat – just remember to eat them ‘naked’ with nothing but a squeeze of lemon, like the locals do!
2. Dine on the City Walls
When in Croatia, you simply have to eat out at ‘konoba’ basement restaurants which serve the most authentic food – and you’ll get great value for money – although the experience is priceless! But if you’re after alfresco dining with sunset views, splash the cash at the famous 360 Degrees which boasts a setting on the City Walls overlooking the sea. The restaurant also has Croatia’s longest and most expensive wine list, so wine connoisseurs can really indulge.
3. Discover an island getaway
Sipan Island is one of the Elaphiti Islands off the coast of Dubrovnik and it’s definitely one of the city’s best kept secrets – it’s especially appealing if you’re after your own piece of paradise. It has lush greenery and tranquil beaches and you’ll definitely get a very exclusive and luxurious island experience here. Perfect for a day trip or you can find private accommodation, including 5 star villas / apartments to rent. The island is also home to Marko’s, one of the best restaurants in the country – just be sure to book ahead.
4. Watch the sunset at Café Buza
You’ve probably already heard about Café Buza; these days, this hidden bar is hardly a secret. But despite it being a tourist hotspot, it’s definitely not a tourist trap, not if you consider the incredible views and its unique location. Prices are higher than average but carved into the side of the cliffs, this bar will give you an amazing vantage point over the turquoise blue waters of the ocean. Sit back, enjoy a cocktail or ice cold beer and wait for the sun to set across the horizon.
5. Book into a spa resort
The great thing about Dubrovnik is the choice of accommodation; luxury comes as standard and there are divine spa resorts dotted across the city’s different neighbourhoods. If you’re looking for a sea view and a location close to a beach, stay on the Lapad Peninsula, where you will find plenty of seafront spa hotels to choose from – and if you want a neighbourhood outside of the city centre but still with restaurants and bars close by, conduct your hotel search in the Babin Kuk area of Dubrovnik.
Christos Hajipapas is Head of Business Development & Strategy at Cyplon Holidays.